If there’s one thing that history has taught us, it’s that we’re extremely lucky not to have lived in the past. If there’s one thing the present day has taught us, it’s that we’re all still weirdly obsessed with pretending we do live there.
You know it’s true. A twirl of a UV light in a twenty-year-old Hampton Inn might conjure flat-out horror in the best of us, but an inconspicuous red carpet stain in a medieval castle will launch an over-the-top eight-hundred-year-old crime documentary in your head (the carpet was from IKEA, by the way, not medieval, and you don’t want to know what the stain was).
There’s no judgment here. However you get your kicks, we’re here to indulge you with some of the finest historical stays on the planet.
Our top picks: The World’s Best Historic Stays
The Cotswalds, United Kingdom
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It doesn’t get more historical than a Tudor-era castle in England. The sprawling 16th-century house was built by the only man who could rival the wealth of one of England’s most famous monarchs – King Henry VIII. After Henry found him guilty of treason, he seized it for himself. It became a destination for his honeymoon tour with his most famous wife, Anne Boleyn (a few years before he chopped her head off).
Now it’s a stunning hotel, renovated with all the comforts of a modern establishment but holding on to the atmospheric quirks that make it so wonderful. Expect four-poster beds, arrow-slit windows, and grand fireplaces to constantly remind you of its place in history. But considering its previous inhabitant’s track record with his love life, maybe skip a romantic trip with your better half.
Bavarian Castle in Vermont
Vermont, United States
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While we can’t officially call this a historical stay, there aren’t really any real castles in the States. This lovingly built Bavarian castle bridges that gap. While Vermont might not be the German mountains, it’ll be easy to forget the fact once you’ve checked in.
Guests have access to a stellar hot tub, mountain views, a grand piano casually resting inside, and above all, a few nights in one of the best-crafted Airbnbs you’ll find on the platform.
The Pera Palace
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An icon of history and travel. The original Orient Express terminated in Istanbul, where this hotel was built to host its affluent passengers after their journey. Perched on a hill overlooking the Golden Horn of the city, the Pera Palace whisks anyone who enters back to the Golden Age of travel (it’s also one of Room Service writer Steven’s favorite hotels on the planet).
Agatha Christie was a regular, penning Murder on the Orient Express in an upstairs guest room, while Hemingway was known to stumble in and out on his own travels, featuring the hotel several times in his works. The hotel itself is a veritable Turkish delight, retaining its old-world splendor while sparing no modern luxury. Make sure to stay for breakfast on the patio.
Our Other Top Picks
Do we need to say more than Italian Renaissance Villa?
It doesn’t get more recent-historic than the Beverly Hills Hotel
The Willard, DC, has been the site of many a historic political moment
Honestly, what’s more fabulous than a French Chateaux?
A 12th-century castle with a surprising interior